The word fitness is both a simple and highly technical concept. I’m not about to get into an in-depth philosophical discussion on opinions, attitudes, and scientific wormholes, but I do want to mention a few traps we get into and then help to simplify things for you to actually use and to put into action.
I use this same method with my own perspective on fitness so I hope you can at least see a few things in a different light. If we can just shift our paradigm a bit away from what fitness has evolved into and get back to what it really should be used for then we’ll finally be on the long term road to success.
So how do you learn about fitness?
Are You Drinking From a Fire Hose?
Fitness advice is in no short supply. It’s also getting tougher to discern between good advice and clever marketing campaigns. Fitness is one of the most commercialized products/services around and people tend to huddle into their own corners of dogmas, doctrines, and convictions as passionately as partisan politics.
It can be overwhelming to say the least. Try shutting down the fire hose a bit. Read, research, and listen of course, but you need to lay down some ground rules for yourself first.
Do You Get Your Info From social Media?
Nothing has influenced the world of fitness quite like social media furthering the influx of confusing content. These tiny disposable bites of information are tossed around without scrutiny or skepticism. At it’s principle core social media didn’t start out as a trove of bad actors replete with negativity and repugnance. It was a great way to stay in touch with your 5th cousin in Kyrgyzstan. When it comes to fitness proceed with caution.
Are You a Doer or a Spectator?
Prior to World War II we were a nation of doers. If we needed anything done we usually did it ourselves. If we wanted to try something we would try it before having an opinion. Now we have evolved into spectators. We’d much rather watch than do. This is why sports has become such a behemoth industry. We feel better about sitting and watching than acting.
Are More Choices a Bad Thing?
Yes! Before our son was born my wife and I went to a store where we were faced with an unforgiving wall of pacifiers. The options were endless. We froze in virtual paralysis and quickly became frustrated. Fitness is no different for many. The endless choices of programs, diets, specialized plans, systems, tools, and ideologies is overwhelming to put it mildly.
Do We Need More Technology?
Technology has seeped into every single aspect of our lives. Some for the better and some for the worse. It feels like fitness is becoming more tech driven than ever. Again, there are countless companies trying to market their products to be the next big thing. At the risk of sounding like a Luddite not everything in our organic world needs the latest tech. And no matter how cool, tech won’t get your butt moving just like those shoes won’t make you jump higher.
Credential Versus Experience
The age-old debate over the preference of ones credentials versus field experience rages on in many circles. In the world of fitness we are inundated with research-heavy studies, doctorate-holding exercise scientists, and concrete data spit out from labs theorizing, experimenting, proving and establishing solid and sound info. On the other hand we have a very vocal and visible army of experienced fitness professionals who are on the front line daily trying new methods, programs, and ideas on their clients seeking and demanding real world results.
The Differences of Health and Goal-Oriented Fitness
Here I must pause for a moment and differentiate my definition between health a fitness. Of course I will always refer anyone to an licensed medical practitioner for any health concerns, questions, and/or issues. The latest “Instagram influencer” shouldn’t replace real medical advice regarding your health. I’m talking important factors such as blood pressure, blood panels, disease prevention/treatment, cardiovascular health, screenings, etc.
Goal-oriented fitness, on the other hand, is a bit broader. Here I’m referring to your specific goals and desires whether it’s to lose fat, build muscle, increase endurance, or train for a specific event. The list can go on, but you get the point. Your fitness goals are subject to all of this confusion listed above and it can be easy to get frustrated, bogged down, and give up.
Build Your Own Castle
With the above in mind let’s clear the air and set some ground rules for ourselves moving forward. Here are a few suggestions to get more out of your fitness journey. It may look simple with no miraculous magic tricks or “secret” formulas, but I always feel like the simpler something is the better.
- Turn off the hose: Either turn off or limit your intake of fitness information. If you want to limit choose a source or two from reputable places or people and go with it. Try not to get sucked into the “more is better” mentality.
- Curate social: Do the same with social. Downsize, limit, or eliminate. Social isn’t the best place for factual, actionable advice. It’s more about “look at me” and marketing.
- Participate: If you find something interesting to you (diet, training program, technique) actually try it out. Stop reading and researching and just do it!
- Limit choices: Are you seeing a pattern? With a limited influx of info you will have limited your choices. This is a good thing that will prevent analysis paralysis and get you moving toward action.
- Necessary tech only: It’s not the shoes! If you still insist on tech try one thing and stick with it. More tech isn’t the answer. More doing and acting is.
- Read and experiment: Finally, go ahead read and research. It’s a great thing. Just be sure to check your sources and act on what you’ve been educated on. Researching more won’t get the job done. Remember why you are doing it in the first place.
Do you have any strategies, tactics, or techniques you practice to make things simpler or more effective?